Short Takes

Last night I inadvertently whacked my PC, which lives under the desk. It then started an ominous clicking and refused to read and write off the main data drive. I copied off what I could and rebooted and…it seems to be working. Still it was a scare and I’m backing up everything regularly.

Got a small booklet on the Farnsworth House in Gettysburg. Though it has nothing to do with its namesake, Elon Farnsworth, it was on the front lines of the battle and was the scene of intense sharpshooting, the results of which can still be seen near the upstairs window. I did a short post on this awhile back. The battle in the town is receiving more attention since it’s one of the few aspects that has not yet been intensively studied.

The booklet, In the Eye of the Storm: The Farnsworth House and the Battle of Gettysburg, is a small, stapled, 63 page book that documents the house’s history. Included are photos of the owners and some period photos taken just after the battle and later. It’s a good overview and the author, Timothy H. Smith, has done his homework in tracking down photos, property records, and family histories of the people involved with the house. There are also some accounts of the battle (several of which I had not seen) of the battle by both Confederate and Union soldiers (Major Eugene Blackford makes an appearance), as well as civilian accounts. At $9.95 it’s a bit pricey for such a small book, but if you’re interested in the fighting in the town it’s well worth it. While you can’t order it online, it’s a quick and easy transaction over the phone.

The nearby Shriver House, thought to be the headquarters of Major Blackford, also has a book coming out. I recommend both if you’re in town, and be sure to drink a “Confederate Sharpshooter” at the Farnsworth House bar.

Also ordered a copy of the new book Hard Times, Hard Bread, and Harder Coffee, a collection of the Civil War letters of Hezikiah Long of the 20th Maine. The book is published by Richardson’s Civil War Round Table, who previously did a volume of the letters of sharpshooter James Mero Matthews. I got mine from BookMarcs in Bangor, Maine and will post a review when I get it.

And finally a fascinating look at Victorian technology, notably the Great Eastern steamship and the Crystal Palace in London.

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